In the Family Way: Ohhhh Oliver

Cathy and Anna with newborn Oliver

Welcome to the world Oliver Bernard Deligio-Busha! Our baby was born at1:32 am at Sunnyside Hospital and weighed 9.9 pounds! Moms and baby are doing wonderfully. It was a long journey from our lives pre-pregnancy to Oliver.

When I was in my late 20′s, my first nephew was born. Meeting his little magical self, I had the first thought that it might actually be fun to raise a child, but knew that I wasn’t ready to make that big of a commitment.

I shared my parenting niggling with a wise friend who told me not to have kids until I couldn’t think of doing anything else because it was that comprehensive of a life-changer.  She told me the biological clock was a false deadline and that there were a many ways to be a mom if I ever got to that all-consuming place and my ovaries had shut up shop.

I heeded my friend’s sage wisdom and went on enjoying the role of aunt and getting my own self figured out. I moved to Arizona from Texas, changed careers, did graduate school for Social Work, came out, and began dating Cathy, the only person I can imagine ever wanting to co-parent with.

It wasn’t until a few years ago at 35 that I began to find all my thoughts drifting back to wanting to have a baby. We had just moved to Colorado from Arizona and my dad was newly diagnosed with the liver cancer that would kill him a year later. In addition to the family stress, Cathy and I weren’t necessarily on the same page with wanting to parent.

While we were discerning, I began doing things that honored my baby making energy – I learned about my cycle, read lesbian parenting books, took my basal body temperature to track ovulation every morning, exercised, quit caffeine and drank gallons upon gallons of herbal tea uterinetonics (I still believe I have the most toned uterus around!).

Shortly after that first hard year in Colorado, Cathy decided that she very much did want to be a mom and we began the work of deciding how. After weighing the different choices, we eventually chose to use an anonymous willing-to-be-known-later sperm donor from a bank with good pricing and inclusive language.

Neither of us wanted to spend too long in that process because it began to feel a little eugenic and odd. In fact, when we looked at our own family health histories, we acknowledged that we probably wouldn’t pick our own sperm.

We set our non-negotiables as willing-to-be-known (so Oliver would have a chance of finding this history if he ever wants to), prior pregnancies (so we knew the sperm worked), white (because we both are) with some basic shared characteristics of Cathy (tall, fair-skinned, hazel eyes, light brown hair) and decent family medical history.

We chose Intra Unterine Insemination (IUI) as our strategy. IUI is where they take the sperm concentrate (minus the fluid, slow, and dead ones) and inject it directly into your uterus via a thin catheter. This process compares to ICI, which is when you take sperm as-is and shoot it up to the cervix (some have used turkey basters for this process). By bypassing my cervix and putting them practically at the finish line, the hope was that they could shake off having been in the deep freeze and make some magic happen.

We did our first IUI and commenced to spend a very nerve-wracking two weeks waiting to see if it stuck. It didn’t. We both cried hard that first time.

From there, we went on to have five more tries with the doctor’s office. Each try that resulted in my period brought us such sadness. There were a lot of tears, some fights, and lots of fears around the choices if this didn’t work.  We even did the county’s foster-adopt training during this time to try to keep the parenting energy going, however it was going to happen.

In spring of 2011, we decided to move from the doctor’s office to a full-blown fertility clinic. They had me do clomid (super-ovulator – makes your ovaries fill up with eggs, increasing your chances for pregnancy – and multiples), put me on low-dose thyroid meds and switched out the progesterone suppositories for three shots of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). Not only did that mean that Cathy (the biggest champ around) had to give me three shots of hCG in my tummy, but it meant that I flooded my body with the hormone it gives off naturally when you’re pregnant, which had me feeling pregnant for two weeks. We tried once at the clinic with no success. More tears, more sadness, and more fear.

At this same time, we found out that Cathy got the job she had hoped for in Oregon and we were due to move the summer of 2011. We decided to hold off on any more baby-making until Oregon because it would be easier if I could physically participate in moving, and we both needed a break.

As soon as we settled here in Oregon, we began the work of finding someone to do the insemination. Within the first two weeks, we kept hearing about a great certified nurse-midwife and met with her.

She agreed to do the insemination and began the work of getting to know us and my body. She had me do a blood test for food allergies and a genetic mutation. The tests showed that I had allergies to eggs, dairy, and a handful of other foods and that I was half-mutated with the Folic acid gene (called MTHFR). This mutation meant that I converted some folic acid, some of the time, with varying levels of success. I became the meat-eating vegan I am today and switched my prenatals to a prescription version that has folate in it, saving my body the work of trying to convert it.

We waited a month to let these changes settle in and decided the November ovulation would be our goal. As it turned out, our midwife was scheduled to be on vacation in November, so it would be an OB at the practice who would inseminate me. When I got the egg image on a Friday evening, she graciously agreed to meet us the following morning at the closed office.

We met her at 8 a.m. on November 5th, and she shared that it had been a while since she had done an IUI. This confession may not have been the vote of confidence we wanted, but she assured us that everything looked good and made us laugh as we spent the symbolic 15 minutes on the table with my hips propped following the insemination.

On November 22nd I once again reached for a pregnancy test, convinced that it would be another three minutes of waiting to see “not pregnant” pop up in the screen. This try was our 8th in 15 months. I set up the test and reached for my phone to see when the 3 minutes had started. Before I could even push my phone on, the test lit up with pregnant. I ran it out to Cathy in the living room, we both cried, and hugged and kissed.

Oliver was born August 5, 2012

Comments

  1. Julie Swenson says:

    Hi! Read your beautiful story, and just wanted to let you know that I love that there are people like you both on this planet. What you went through to bring a child into the world is incredible and so selfless. That gorgeous little boy is incredibly lucky to have you both in his life, and I’m sure you feel the same. Cheers, and best wishes to you all!

  2. Hi Anna and Cathy -
    I just caught up with your story and would like to tell you both congratulations! My partner, Kristen, and I recently had a little boy named Lincoln on August 22nd through an at-home IUI. We too had gone through years of the heartbreak of trying through a fertility clinic and having the process fail us over and over again so we know the heartbreak that you have felt. We had also even gone so far as to start the adoption process through a local agency because we wanted a family that bad. It was amazing when we found out I had gotten pregnant on a whim. I think it was finally letting go of controlling the process, ya know? Anyway, it was nice to read your story and to know that other couples have gone through the same things that we have and have come out successful!
    Misty, Kristen and Lincoln

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